Sunday Opens (5/2)

By Dave Fratello | May 2nd, 2010
With Cinco de Mayo coming up shortly, this week we feature mostly Spanish-style listings.

First, an aside. We hope you know that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day. Probably more of us celebrate it in the USA than do Mexicans.

What's interesting is that the date recalls a battle with France, which invaded our neighbors to the south 150 years ago after they strategically defaulted on their debts.

Nowadays, France might have simply had Wall Street auction off Mexico, but in the olden days, they sent troops and installed puppet governments to get paid. Cinco de Mayo was but a bump in the road for the French as they set about getting their money.

Discuss that over a couple of Coronas.

To plan your open-house tours for this week, use MB Confidential's online list of Manhattan Beach open houses (it's mobile-friendly!).

Hill Section

505 N. Dianthus (5br/4ba, 4650 sq. ft.) is fairly new (2002) and plenty big, with city views to the north.

The house is vacant and the listing is nearing 100 DOM, so it's time for another look. The ambitious start price of $2.999m hasn't worked, and must be due for a change.

The newer (2002) home is a charming Spanish with lots of light from windows and skylights. The back yard is ample and sunny, while the front patio (above the garage) is spacious and offers good city/mountain views to the north and east.

The hardwood floors seem flawless, and the kitchen, boasting all the high-end conveniences, features granite counters with unique colors that match the Spanish/Mexican style nicely.

The master, up front, gets the best views and a giant suite, and the rest of the bedrooms upstairs are good size. A large, open loft area upstairs with big views also cries out for some creative use (kids' living room?).

So what's the 2010 value on this home? Back in April 2003, the current owners paid $2.125m. Despite the recent pickup in activity in the market, there's not much evidence we've left 2004 prices in MB, so one guess at the market value might be the 2004 markup to, perhaps, $2.3-$2.5m. Time will tell.

We've previously pointed to the Jan. 2010 closed sale at 407 Larsson, a slightly bigger, somewhat newer (2005) Craftsman that sat more than a year (408 DOM) before going for $2.190m. As a street, Dianthus isn't Larsson, but that sale tugs at the value for 505 Dianthus. 

505 Dianthus remains (for now) at $2.999m, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

How are you loving Spanish these days? Here's another.

At 2523 N. Valley, you get a darling, meticulously crafted Spanish (oops, they call it "Monterey Colonial") with lots of unique details.

This one made a lasting impression back in 2005 when it was new, and could be one of the highlights of this weekend, too.

There are a couple of hitches. First, location – anything on Valley will take a value hit, no avoiding that. Next, the garage. In an effort we commend to get the garage behind the house instead of dominating the front, we wind up here with a long side driveway that narrows the home and probably isn't going to have cars parked inside of it often. (The bonus studio/garden room off the garage is one of those unique details we like.)

Size suffers a bit – the 4br/5ba home reaches only 2800 sq. ft., just 300-500 fewer square feet than most newer-era builds. That means each room is just a fraction smaller than you may be used to seeing. Things could get tight with a busy family.

Buying the home new near the local market peak in Feb. 2006, the sellers paid $2.050m. They know they won't be getting all of that back, and start at $1.789m (-$261k/-13%).

2523 N. Valley is open Sun. 1-4pm.

608 33rd (4br/4ba, 3550 sq. ft.) is kinda Spanish outside. The 1990 build is going to feel dated for most buyers, though, and some of the contemporary (Palm Springs?) features and updates are likely to be replaced by the next family to come through.

Besides the need to remodel, the location near busy Blanche is going to be some concern. Still, it's a lot of home with potential, and a location that could work.

33rd was offered previously from June 2008-March 2009, priced initially at $1.879m and dropping only to $1.799m over the course of 280 DOM.

It starts now about a year later, labeled the "Best Value in the Tree Section" (listing) with its new start at $1.699m.

608 33rd is open Sun. 2-4pm.

There's actually no Spanish whatsoever going on at 840 12th Ct., a 1940s-era, remodeled cottage with some extra space (4br/2ba 1550 sq. ft.) – and that's not counting the odd little bonus loft above the family room.

The cozy home should be an entry-level offering, but the start price at $1.249m suggests more of a premium.

You can put "excellent location" in all caps, but it's up to buyers to decide whether being very close to Pacific School and looking out the back yard over a commercial building's parking lot is entirely "excellent."

840 12th Ct. is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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